Poems by Gina Franco


The Bells

passed over the shadows and put our soles on their vanity which seems a body



Hailed by Demetria Martinez as “a masterful new voice,” Gina Franco writes fearless poems that refuse to blink before the reader’s expectant gaze. Her first collection, The Keepsake Storm, draws on a long tradition of storytelling and brims with long-limbed narratives that amble out of a western landscape, often revealing what we would rather not see: alarming family portraits, life’s little stings and decompositions at the hands of insects, the stories of friends and strangers who die too soon. Franco’s unflinching eye wanders into the surreal, as when a speaker sees her own tongue “writhe on the ground in front of me, murmuring, / dividing, becoming forked before it slithered off.” Such images appear matter-of-fact, almost expected, and render life’s literal terrors no less harrowing. Of this poet’s tumultuous inner landscape, Rane Arroyo writes, “Gina Franco interprets storms, unscrambles chaos, and honors wounds. Here is a poet to trust because of her sheer will to thrive, no matter what.”

Indeed, these poems seek refuge and redemption. “We waited through the night, the rain / pouring down over the blackout like a shroud” reports the speaker in “The Spirit That Appears When You Call.” Franco deftly inserts achingly calm moments in the most dramatic scenes, like pinpoints in a dark sky, as when one person writes to another, “How are you doing? How’s the weather? Did the rain stop?” Franco’s work has appeared in Crazyhorse, The Georgia Review, Black Warrior Review, and other journals. A native of Arizona and an alumna of Smith College class of 1997, Franco lives in Illinois, where she teaches at Knox College.

See also Gina Franco's poem in the Alumnae Poetry section






      Poetry Center Reading:  
    Fall 2007 (with Gail Mazur & Eve Grubin)